Emotional Orphans by Cate Shepherd
Healing Our Throwaway Children

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                                 * San Diego Book Awards WINNER, 2013 *"Emotional Orphans tells the sad and moving stories of a number of lost children, young ones who had suffered abuse and abandonment and who had learned in consequence that trust in others was their most bitter enemy.  In this wonderful book, Dr. Shepherd describes her clinical work and gives us moving accounts of her inspiring successes and her heartbreaking failures. She also opens up her own trauma history, and allows us to see how the wounds carried by the healer play an indispensable role in the process of healing itself.  This book should be read by every student and clinician who seeks to open the darkness of mistrust to the power of human understanding and connection."  - George Atwood, Ph.D., author, The Abyss of Madness        "This is a beautifully written, deeply insightful and important book which should be required reading for everyone dealing with abuse and its aftermaths: therapists, patients, parents and step-parents, as well as the general reader." - Louis Breger, Ph.D., author of Freud: Darkness in the Midst of Vision and Psychotherapy: Lives Intersecting                                                                      When social worker Cate Shepherd's first patient punches her in the face,she realizes she has a lot to learn about helping traumatized kids.  So Cate duct tapes her heart to her sleeve and sets out on a mission to find captives of childhood pain and free them. When she begins, she does not know that the kids she loves will pee on her furniture, poop on her shoe, brandish a broken beer bottle in her face, and heave a huge potted plant at her head. Nor does she realize they will burrow into her heart, sometimes break it, and mold her into a therapist who is willing to follow them wherever they need to go to heal themselves.     While still a psychology student, Cate begins her career and finds her bliss in an unexpected place: Juvenile Hall. Compelled by the suffering of teens she meets there, and intrigued by her uncanny ability to understand and help them, she pursues a career as a psychotherapist. She comes to understand that her own painful childhood fuels her passion for this work.      At her first real therapist job after grad school, Cate meets Harry Young, M.D., a quirky psychoanalyst who takes a keen interest in her clinical training. Harry hangs out in her dingy little office and watches her daily antics while she re-parents a motley caseload of emotional orphans. Most of the kids have at least one parent still living. Somewhere. But the needs of their hearts remain unmet. Like Cate's.     The residential treatment of disturbed teens is soaked in violence, tragedy, comedy, and creativity. And characters. Like the art therapist who conducts funerals for boogers.      Sometimes unconventional means are required to reach armored hearts. Like smuggling martial arts weapons onto the dorm to empower a downtrodden boy. Or sneaking out the back of the Christian group home to perform a fire ritual with a Wiccan family in a nearby canyon.      And sometimes the hours are long.  Like watching over a comatose girl in the ICU after a near-fatal suicide attempt.      One day Harry looks up from his cup of coffee and, with his Sean Connery smirk says, "You're goofy enough to do this work." This is the sword on the shoulder that Cate has been waiting for. With Harry's support and wise counsel, she specializes in the treatment of severely emotionally disturbed adolescents for eighteen years. Cate takes on some of the most disturbed families in Los Angeles, and works inside some of the most dysfunctional systems.      Eventually, one of these systems turns on her.  Trauma blindsides Cate and rips open old wounds.      After years of helping others heal, she struggles to get free from the shackles of her own pain. And when she is ready to give up, the unexpected unfolds.

About Cate Shepherd

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Winner, San Diego Book Awards, 2
Published September 29, 2012 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 268 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Professional & Technical, Self Help. Non-fiction

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